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Archive for Monday, October 8, 2001

Items to consider when adding up costs

October 8, 2001

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Here are some tips on how to control your holiday spending:

How much do you plan to spend on holiday meals at home and out along with entertaining expenses, including liquor? If you're entertaining at home or going out, will there be party clothes to buy?

Don't forget decorating expenses, including trees and wreaths. There are cards, envelopes and postage and wrapping paper.

If you plan to travel, figure your hotel bills, travel fares and kennel costs. If you pick up the tab for children or parents coming to you, you already should have those super-saver tickets.

Don't forget tips for newspaper delivery people, the postal carrier, regular baby sitter, barber or hairdresser and others who render a regular service.

If you can't save up yourself, set up a Christmas club account to help you save while you earn a little interest. The American Bankers Assn. has stopped tracking Christmas club accounts because many banks stopped offering them, but some banks and credit unions still do.

Finally, says Virginia Leech, a personal finance professor at Virginia Tech who also heads the state consumer council, "Keep some flexibility in your holiday budget.

"Even after you have looked at every purchase and activity you think might occur during the holidays, it's a good idea to have an additional budget line for 'unexpected expenses,'" ranging from extra gas for the car to more long-distance phone calls than you'd thought you'd make.

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